When I started creating websites in 1995 it was done by hand coding in Notepad and you created each page individually. That worked and in some instances, still does for websites that function as brochures. There is a term for those sites, it is called “brochureware”, the most passive ways you can represent your business, product or service online. Those passive websites offered a one-way interaction with site visitors and in most cases one the information was consumed, there was little reason for anyone to come back to read the same material again.

Websites that have passive or static content, that is content that is not updated regularly are much like a printed brochure. The world of the Internet has changed drastically as have the dynamics of the search engines that rank websites. Current search engine technology will list on average about 12 hits on any page, getting listed on the first few pages after a search related to your business is a function of luck, money or a lot of hard work. If you remove the chance that someone will find your website on a search engine, your passive marketing investment just became invisible.

In today’s world, “brochureware” websites don’t have much luck with search engines. Online brochures have some limited functionality if your marketing strategy includes sending visitors to your website, just as you would mail a brochure. I can see situations where someone says, “send me a brochure” and the response is, “sure, what is your email” and at that point, data collection leads to emailing a website link along with the “thank you” note. You will note that I didn’t just give up the website, I asked for an email.

What does the kind of website you have do with social media marketing you say? Well if your site amounts to a passive brochures online, your ability to social media network is limited to putting a few icons sharing company or personal profiles on various social networks. That is a one-way, passive approach to interacting with opportunities that social media marketing offer your business, service or product branding. In any economic environment, passive marketing will put you behind the curve, scrambling for the crumbs.Passive just isn’t a way to work in an active market. A brochure is passive enough marketing. an online brochure is not much better. Putting a row of social networking icons on your website that passively wait for someone to click into your profile isn’t very energetic either.

So what are your alternatives? There are ways to create a web presence online that allows for active marketing. The platforms that I use today, which are comparatively easy to deploy and actually have reduced the web related budgets of my clients are called web content management systems or “CMS”. You have probably heard of WordPress and might have heard other names like Joomla and Drupal. Of the three, most projects I am involved with are developed using WordPress for the same reasons summarized in the article linked below. Even though the end result can look very similar, underneath, a CMS is a very special way to build your web presence into an active portal online. Even better, CMS web designs allows active participation on social media marketing. Web sites based on CMS platforms become web portals. The term portal suggests a doorway where information can come and go in an active manner. Whereas a passive website is like a billboard, a CMS offers an opportunity to be a personalized experience that allows interaction with search engines, visitors and social networks.

For example, if this was a site about “Wudman’s Widgets”, you could be reading a short blog about a new or updated widget. This blog update could be automatically shared on one or dozens of social networking communities when published to the portal. A visitor could share it with others by clicking on icons you see below. Whether it is retweeted, shared, reposted, or is caught by search engines, the information is being actively shared. Even better, it is new where passive websites tend to be very stale or get stale quickly. In some cases websites are never updated. That is the case because passive websites are not user friendly to update. WordPress can be updated by cutting and pasting from Microsoft Word!

In summary, if you want to actively marketing online and interact with social media, trade your passive website for an active web portal. In many of my clients cases, development costs are lower and deployment times are faster when compared to a static or passive web brochure. Even better, the CMS platforms offer extendability,what you build today can grow with your business and in functionality.